1) Alexander Graham Bell – He invented the telephone.
2) Benjamin Franklin – Colonial founder-of-all-trades— scientist, printer, writer, diplomat, inventor, and more; like his country, he contained multitudes.
3) Dwight Eisenhower He helped win WW II as a general. As the 34th president, he won two elections, and made everybody like Ike.
4) Elvis Presley – The fifties king of rock and roll.
5) Ernest Hemingway – Famous writer. His spare style defined American modernism, and his life made machismo a cliché.
6) Franklin Delano Roosevelt – 32nd President. He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and then he proved it.
7) Frederick Douglass – After escaping from slavery, he pricked the nation’s conscience with an eloquent accounting of its crimes.
8) Harriet Beecher Stowe – She wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin and inspired a generation of abolitionists and set the stage for civil war.
9) Harry Truman – The 33rd president, this machine politician ushered in the Atomic Age and then the Cold War.
10) Henry Ford – He gave us the assembly line and the Model T, and sparked America’s love affair with the automobile.
11) J. P. Morgan – The great financier and banker was the prototype for all the Wall Street barons who followed.
12) James D. Watson – He co-discovered DNA’s double helix, revealing the code of life to scientists and entrepreneurs alike.
13) John D. Rockefeller – The man behind Standard Oil set the mold for our tycoons—first by making money, then by giving it away.
14) John Quincy Adams – The 6th president. The Monroe Doctrine’s real author, he set nineteenth-century America’s diplomatic course.
15) Lyndon Baines Johnson – The 36th president. His brilliance gave us civil-rights laws; his stubbornness gave us Vietnam.
16) Mark Twain – He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
17) Martin Luther King Jr. – His dream of racial equality is still elusive, but no one did more to make it real.
18) Richard Nixon – 37th President. Opened relations with China and resigned due to Watergate scandal.
19) Robert E. Lee – Civil War general. He was a good general but a better symbol, embodying conciliation in defeat.
20) Robert Oppenheimer – The father of the atomic bomb.